The Best Paint Rollers on the Market

Updated May 18, 2024 | Posted Sep 30, 2021 | Professional insight, Tool Insight | 6 comments

Having good quality tools makes all the difference in decorating. I’ve been a Professional Painter for over 20 years, and even I would struggle to achieve a good finish with cheap kit, particularly brushes and rollers. I thought I’d take a little bit of time to sit down and write about what I think are the best paint rollers on the market.

First of all, you should steer clear of DIY type tools and opt for the brands us Decorators use. That means staying away from places like B&Q or Homebase and opting for trade paint outlets. There are various places online you can shop for these tools.

The other thing to bear in mind is that ‘the best paint roller’ changes depending on what you’re using it for. If you’re painting a ceiling or using a cheap contract matt, then you will need to opt for a long-pile roller so you can spread a large amount of material and avoid defects like flashing.

If you’re painting a wall, then it’s slightly different. A medium pile roller will cut down on orange peel and leave a much smaller finish. When using oil-based gloss, you need a foam roller to apply thin and even coats.

The guide below outlines the different tasks you come across in decorating, and the best rollers for each.

 

What is the Best Paint Roller to Paint Ceilings?

 

Purdy Colossus Paint Roller

I thought I’d start with the brand I’ve been using throughout my career. The Purdy colossus holds and distributes a ridiculous amount of paint over large areas. This is the perfect paint roller for painting ceilings.

The Purdy Colossus roller comes as a 9, 12 or 18-inch, so just opt for the size that suits the area you’re painting. Although if you’re in doubt, go for the 9-inch, as you’ll be able to use it anywhere. You can also use this paint roller for interior walls and exterior masonry.

As mentioned above, the colossus roller spreads a huge amount of paint, so it is perfect for applying thick coats quickly. It is one of the best paint rollers on the market, but there is one disadvantage –

The roller sleeve sheds little blue fibres on its first run out. It is fine from the second use onwards. I often wrap and unwrap a new roller with duct tape, which pulls any rogue fibres out. This seems to solve the issue.

I’d still highly recommend these rollers. I use a Purdy Colossus on pretty much every ceiling I paint. Nothing else comes close.

What is the Best Paint Roller for Walls?

 

Rolling walls is a little bit different to rolling ceilings. It becomes less about applying thick coats of paint, and more about creating a fine finish. The rollers still need to hold a lot of paint, otherwise you will never achieve an even finish, but it becomes more about avoiding noticeable orange peel. I’ll give you a couple of my favourite paint roller recommendations for this type of work.

Hamilton Perfection Green Paint Roller (medium pile)

Hamilton are a brand associated with the trade, and these rollers are possibly the most widely used by Professional Decorators. You can buy them online by clicking here, or basically any trade decorating centre!! Again, as with a lot of medium pile rollers, I prefer to go for 12 inch most of the time. Not just because of the time saved by going big, but it’s also easier to achieve a better finish.

Paint pick-up and distribution are good, but the best attribute to these rollers is how flat and even the paint finish is. There is barely any texture in the finish at all. I like using Hamilton medium pile for any vinyl matt or durable emulsion paints, but tend to go for something that holds a bit more material when using cheap contract matt.

Hamilton are the best paint rollers for walls

Axus Silk Touch Roller Sleeve

Axus Silk Touch deserves a mention as one of the best paint rollers for use in emulsion. It’s completely lint-free, even on first use. It holds a good amount of paint, and seems to distribute it evenly, regardless of whether you’re at the start of your roll or the end.

One of the things that really strikes me about this roller is how little spatter there is. This is a breath of fresh air because it means you don’t get covered in paint, and neither does your woodwork.

And finally, the finish you can achieve with the Axus Silk Touch Paint Roller is bang on! It really is silky-smooth, with no orange peel at all. This is because the fibres on this roller are wound very densely. Anyone can use this roller and achieve a nice finish.

What are the Best Paint Rollers for Oil-Based Gloss?

 

I thought I’d include a little section for gloss, as you will need a certain type of roller to apply this type of paint to good standard. Traditionally, the best oil-based gloss rollers are foam, and most people opt for a 4-inch, or “mini roller”.

It doesn’t really matter which foam mini roller you go for, as they all do the same job. It does need to be new for each job, as does your tray or scuttle. This is to ensure you avoid getting dust and other contaminants in your paint. There’s nothing worse than applying a high-gloss finish, only to find little bits in it.

Best Roller for Applying Woodwork Paint

 

This section covers oil-based satinwood and eggshell, and any water-based trim paint. I thought I’d bundle it all together because I use the same rollers for all these paints.

Two Fussy Blokes

These paint rollers have been available for a while now. I can remember when they were launched. It was like a revolution! Two Fussy Blokes were the first paint rollers you could use for applying paint to woodwork and you wouldn’t need to lay-off afterwards (brush over after applying the paint via roller).

They hold loads of paint, last for a long time, and leave your woodwork looking blemish free. They’re easy to use too. I’d highly recommend, especially when using water-based paint. Most Decorators I know use them.

Axus Silk Touch 4-inch

The second mention for Axus Silk Touch on this blog. I normally use Two Fussy Blokes paint rollers on woodwork, except when I need to apply thick coats of paint. For example, when I’m going for a colour change, or I’m painting new woodwork.

Silk Touch rollers are perfect for this. They do indeed apply generous coats of paint, but it’s always even and with very little orange peel. This means you can cut down on the number of coats of paint needed.

Which paint rollers do you use?

Mike Cupit takes you through some of his favourite paint rollers.

What are the Best Roller Frames?

 

OK, I’ve mentioned a few different brands of roller sleeve in the above sections. It may interest you to know that each brand of sleeve is compatible with each brand of roller frame. It may be easier to buy your roller and frame as a kit, or you can do what I do, and cherry pick the best of both worlds.

I don’t like Purdy roller 9-inch cages as they tend to break. However, the Purdy Quick Release for larger roller sleeves is fantastic. Swapping sleeves is made very easy, and they tend to last.

Ciret (Rota) are good for the price you can pick them up for, but if you’re using it every day as I do, they don’t tend to last. Ciret frames might be perfect if you’re a Handyman or DIYer, as you won’t hammer it in the same way a decorator would.

For a 9inch sleeve you should go for the Hamilton Perfection Cage Frame, available online, this sleek paint roller cage offers a robust wooden handle, and a stainless-steel arm and cage. It’s lightweight and the sleeves fit nicely. What more could you ask for?

For a 12inch roller sleeve, go for Purdy. The beauty of an “adjustable” frame is you can use it with 12 and 15inch roller sleeves without issue. This roller frame is manufactured from a robust plastic, making it light and easy to operate. You will need to keep the mechanism in order to keep it moving freely (I put a little bit of tape on it while I’m painting). Click here to see online prices.

 

Roller Poles

 

I’m not going to bore you with a whole section on this. Any roller pole with a screw attachment for the frame will work well. You can either go for Purdy or Hamilton. Click here to see current prices.

FAQs

 

What paint roller gives the smoothest finish on cabinets?

to paint something as flat as cabinets, I’d personally go for ProDec Ice Fusion (which probably gives the flattest finish out of any paint roller). Or Two Fussy Blokes. Although Axus Décor Silk Touch is also a good shout.

 

Do professional painters use rollers?

Professional Painters use rollers every day and have done since the 80’s. We use mini rollers around the edge of the wall, a large roller for the main bit of the wall. We even use a roller to apply paint to woodwork.

 

Are foam rollers better for painting?

Foam rollers are best for applying oil-based gloss. They don’t really hold enough paint for any other type of material.

 

Why am I getting roller streaks?

This could be due to a couple of things; You might be using the wrong type of paint. Or you might be using the wrong type of roller for the paint you’re using.

 

Why is my paint roller leaving a texture?

That texture is called orange peel, and it can be a nightmare. It’s probably because you’re not using the best paint roller for the type of material you’re applying. But before throwing the roller out, try diluting the paint to see if that helps.

 

Are you supposed to dampen a paint roller before painting?

Yes, we call it ‘priming the paint roller’. It’s the same principle as trying to clean up a spill with a mop. A damp mop will absorb the spill much more easily than a dry one. Paint will take to a damp roller more easily than it will a dry one.

 

Final Thoughts

 

I have tried so many paint rollers over the years, but always revert back to my favourites. Having a good roller really will make a huge difference to the finish you achieve when decorating. Whether you’re trying to avoid flashing on a ceiling, orange peel on a wall, or uneven paint on your woodwork; your main priority should be a good quality roller.

What do Other Decorators Think?

I do love Hamilton Green paint rollers, and they’re so easy to come by when you are unorganised.

But I love the Two Fussy Blokes. They give such a good finish 😎

Carla Walker

Professional Decorator

Medium pile Hamilton is the best roller for me. Purdy Colossus are great on smooth walls and ceilings.

Bradley Youles

Professional Decorator

I used to use green medium Hamilton rollers for walls, but converted to long pile Arroworthy. I find it holds more paint and gives a better finish. A worn in long pile Hamilton or Purdy Colossus are decent.

Joe Campling

Professional Decorator

I do like microfiber rollers for emulsion. Wooster, Hamilton, or Purdy being my favourite. I like the way they hold plenty of paint. I love the mini-Jumbo 6.5 for cutting in to painting small awkward areas.

I use Mohair sometime for woodwork, but also find the Hamilton perfection smooth white mini rollers work well for water-based finish on wood.

If I use my airless spray rollers set up, I’ll still use the same emulsion rollers for smooth walls/ceilings

Colin Strudwick

Professional Decorator

I would like to try the Purdy paint rollers and the Arrowworthy ones, but personally I prefer using the Hamilton trade 12″ medium and thick pile rollers. They hold the paint well, plus they’re really easy to clean up. Great price too, so it’s a win win for me personally.

Gavin Baker

Professional Decorator

Purdy Colossus are the best paint rollers. I have been for last 15 years. Microfiber offer a different level of finish, but don’t hold much paint and are a hard to wash out.

Simon Young

Professional Decorator

I use Picasso rollers👍🏻

Two Coat Painting Services

Professional Decorator

Rota Dualon long pile paint roller is the best I’ve used for a long time. It holds lots of paint , very little spatter and leaves a great finish.

Tony Kinchlea

Professional Decorator

The best paint roller for ceilings is a 15- inch Rota extra-long pile. It holds loads and gives a flat finish.

For walls: Rota again with the Dualon.

With contract/flat paints: I like the Arrowworthy long pile 12-15 inch. Same when using vinyl and scrubbable paints.

4-inch Albany stain varnish roller for oil-based paints.

Arrowworthy 4-inch for emulsions.

Jamie Humphries

Professional Decorator

I use the Purdy Colossus or Hamilton Rollers

John Potter

Professional Decorator

Did use the Hamilton Green until recently, then tried these Two Fussy Blokes Rollers, which I find great. The only downside is they’ve started to lose bits, which is a shame as I like them. Unless I just got a dodgy batch.

Steven Burt

Professional Decorator

Purdy colossus for me. Since I start to decorate, I’ve tried many different paint rollers and always gone back to Purdy. I have very old Purdy rollers which spray a lot when rolling but leaves very flat finish. The newer ones hold a lot of paint and let you to play with the material until you get the finish you want to achieve. You can use a Purdy Colossus in any type of paint.

When it comes to woodwork, I don’t use anything other than Rota Concave Sponge rollers. You can get very near to spray finish with it. Especially with oil-based paints.

Marius Valaitis

Professional Decorator

Purdy Colossus is the best roller on ceilings and exterior masonry. Hamilton Green on interior walls, Arroworthy short pile for doors and big skirts..👍👍

Stephen Roberts

Professional Decorator

Hamilton green (medium pile) and pinks for me Mike 👍

Tony AJ Andrews

For a 12” emulsion roller, or the smaller rad rollers, I’m a big fan of good old-fashioned Hamilton. I tried the Albeny ones from Brewers recently, but sent them back. It was a 12-inch sleeve, but it fall apart in emulsion and I was either leaving a horrific finish, or permanently picking fluff off the walls.

Ross Ratty

Professional Decorator

Hamilton lambswool rollers have been used by me for many years. They never let me down and give a great finish when using emulsion. However, when it comes to 4-inch mini rollers, I prefer Arroworthy or Two Fussy Blokes. They give a great finish with water-based woodwork finishes.

Pete Clark

Professional Decorator

Rota Gold & Finish are both brilliant. Just not widely available which is a pain!

Robert Dent

Professional Decorator

I love Hamilton green 15” paint rollers for ceilings. Purdy colossus or Prodec Ice Fusion for walls 12” and mini rollers.

David Peterson

Professional Decorator

I love Hamilton green 15” paint rollers for ceilings. Purdy colossus or Prodec Ice Fusion for walls 12” and mini rollers.

David Peterson

Always used Hamilton green paint rollers up until now as they give a nice even and smooth finish. Tried the new Axus sleeve last week, and it was awesome! Minimal spray, holds a decent amount of paint and great finish. Think these will be my ‘go-to’ in future.

Clint Hobson

Professional Decorator

Micro fibre all the way. Lovely smooth finish.

Noel Smith

Professional Decorator

Two fussy blokes 4-inch 5mm smooth rollers for woodwork. It gives an excellent finish. Barely need to lay off when used with water-based gloss/satin. Just need to run tape over them first to defuzz them.

Jamie Mcmurdo

Professional Decorator

Hamilton greens are the best paint rollers. No tram lines, lovely fine finish and not overpriced.

Aaron Pinnock

Professional Decorator

I used to use Hamilton rollers, green ones for your standard emulsions, but they don’t hold enough paint and you have to go over the wall more than twice to get rid of the tram lines.

Picasso or Two Fussy Bloke rollers are my ‘go to’ now. They both hold a lot of paint and leave a flat finish with a light back roll.

Les Copestake

Professional Decorator

Updated May 18, 2024 | Posted Sep 30, 2021 | 6 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Gregory is a Professional Painter and Decorator who works in the Northwest of England. He mainly sub-contracts for large decorating firms and works on a wide variety of projects.

6 Comments

  1. Andy Smith

    Interesting you mention the hamilton double arm frame here. I have used them and I do love the solid feel they have to them. Simple but effective design. However, I have experienced many times when the spindles seem to erode in use and when using on a ceiling you end up with grey lines appearing where the paint has been contaminated. I know I’m not the only person to find this. If Hamilton get that issue sorted I would use the frame all the time. Unfortunately they have ignored my messages so far!

    Reply
    • Tony

      Purdy Colossus and Hamilton Perfection medium both great for walls… Hamilton Perfection long pile 15 inch for ceilings 👍

      The only frames I ever use are the Pro Dec Titan 9 inch and the Pro Dec 12 and 15 inch metal frames, they last for years.

      As for poles, I’ve used the Wooster Sherlock poles for a few years now, have 3 different sizes and never had a problem with any of them.

      I seem to go through brushes like no ones business, buying new ones then going back to my old favourites, but my rollers have pretty much stayed the same since I started on my own 5 years ago.

      Reply
  2. Cliff

    Hi I agree with the above Andy Smith, there doesn’t
    seem to be a way of rectifying the problem, the fault is with the design.

    Reply
  3. Auguest Liang

    Hi I agree with the above Andy Smith, there doesn’t seem to be a way of rectifying the problem.

    Reply
  4. Aidy

    My good god please whatever you guys do stay away from the Rota Dualon. I bought 2 of these on the back of reading this, and for your sanity please stay away from them. I done everything right, took it out and wrapped a bit of tape around it to remove the fibres, washed it in Luke warm water with a wee bit of dish soap and let it dry, done the tape thing again incase. Painted my hall ceiling and got several fibres on the ceiling. So washed it out after the first coat and prepared it again before the second coat. Still got fibres and two bloody big ones too. I’m sticking to the Hamilton perfection and two fussy blokes.

    Reply
    • Mike Cupit

      sounds like you bought a falty one to be honest. The Rotas are good

      Reply

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